“We invited a bunch of the brewery’s regulars to help make the beer they’ve all been asking for; a beer for the people, by the people… an extra special bitter. The brewing style is known for its’ balance and interplay between hop and malt, with this being no exception. A hint of fruit on the aroma, followed by a drop of sweetness on the palate, this medium-bodied local has plenty of rich flavour to give. What truly makes this Bitter extra special? The hands that helped create it.”
Glassware: English pint.
Appearance: Moderately hazy amber pour with a big and frothy three finger crown. The head gradually recedes and leaves healthy lacing on the glass.
Aroma: Mostly sweet, bready and biscuity. Dominated by the chewy caramel malts but nicely checked by the fruity hops. Delicate toasty and nutty tones mingle with the overwhelmingly savoury notes beautifully. Good depth and overall character to this aroma, even if it is basic.
Flavour: They’ve certainly got the bitter side of things dialled in. Upfront there’s a moderate caramel sweetness then the hops barge in and practically reach all the way into the finish. They also provide a distinctly citrusy yet mildly spicy and herbaceous quality while a biscuity and nutty malt profile develops late and draws out in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Slick and a tad chewy with a substantial hop bitterness in the swallow. Medium body with good carb. The 5.1% ABV is about bang on for the style.
Overall: This was our first crack at this South Australian brewery. When we hear Bowden we immediately think of Billy Bowden (the quirky cricket umpire known for his hook-fingered dismissals). Unsure if there’s a connection but this ESB is somewhat like old Billy boy – no nonsense and full of character.